From the Brazilian side, you can get on a high speed Zodiac boat and zoom up the river and get very close to the falls. You will get wet!! You can catch a ride on the Nautical Adventure which tends to have crazy drivers who love to get everyone in the boat as wet as possible by driving as close to the Devil's Throat as possible. There are also other boat options that go more slowly and peacefully along quieter spots of the river.
El Ecologico Tren de la Selva
The park itself is quite large and one of the best improvements to Iguazu Falls is the service of the "Tren de la Selva".
The train leaves Estacion Central at the entrance of the park about every 10 minutes and times are posted on a board above the waiting area. There is no fee to ride the train and you can use it as many times is you wish.
The train will take you from Central Station to two stations, Estacion Catarata and Estacion Garganta and you must disembark at Estacion Catarata and wait for another train if you are continuing on to Estacion Garganta (this is also the case on the way from Estacion Garganta to Estacion Central).
The ride from Estacion Central to Estacion Catarata is a plesant 10 minutes on a track that winds along the park while the ride from Estacion Catarata is about 20 minutes long.
We had a really nice ride on the train talking to an older Argentinian couple who were spending some holiday time in and around the area, we even snapped some pics of them together at the falls, which they said they hadn't visited in over 20 years.
Bus to the Falls
There is a bus that goes from Puerto Iguazu to Iguazu Falls which seems to run about every 20-30 minutes. The buses get quite crowded as it is a regular bus which many of the locals use.
We didn't use the bus service, but our driver told us that the ride from Puerto Iguazu to the Falls would take about 45 minutes at a cost of $5 pesos, not bad actually.
Taxi to the Falls
We used a taxi on two separate occasions to get to the falls. During our first visit to the falls we were staying at the Sheraton Iguazu Falls which required a taxi fare and entrance fee to the park (60 pesos for the taxi, 50 pesos each for the park) which is quite standard as the fares are posted in the airport.
We also used a taxi during our stay in Puerto Iguazu when we hired a car to pick us up at the hotel, take us to the falls and pick us up at a designated time. I really liked the freedom that doing the park on your own affords and we didn't want to spend 40 minutes on a crowded bus either.
The ride to the falls from our hotel was about 30-40 minutes and we paid our driver 90 pesos for the round trip which did not include the fee for the entrance to the park.
We gave the driver a time to pick us up and he was waiting for us as we exited the park.
We really didn’t have much of a choice for taxis here. The flat rate to the Sheraton seems to be 60 pesos coming and going the airport.
So when we got outside upon arrival I really just picked one and decided that was it. Our driver was courteous and gave us a few maps and explained some things in what appeared to very broken English and mostly Spanish. Enough to convey his thoughts to us.
The ride took 15 or 20 minutes as we had to drive away from the airport and then turn into the park. This is where the first big surprise hit us. No where had we read this before but to get to the hotel you must pay park admission in cash and that is in addition to the 60 peso taxi fare. The park admission runs 40 pesos per person so be sure you have plenty of cash when you arrive at the airport.
After receiving the cabbie’s card so we could call him for our return we were quickly helped out of the car by the Sheraton staff and hustled into the hotel and on our way. Tipping culture is HUGE here.
LAN - Your Oneworld Connection
Because we were on a OneWorld ticket, we were using LAN Argentina to fly from AEP in Buenos Aires up to IGR Iguazu and back. The good thing is that it was included in the price of the ticket so it only resulted in a phone booking fee and slightly higher taxes for each of us.
LAN was using Airbus A320s to fly us up and back in an all coach layout. On the way up we were in row 1, on the way back 15. To caution, row 1 does not have a cut out at the bottom so the foot space is cramped. The good news is the flight is barely 90 minutes so it is not unbearable.
At both AEP and also IGR we were given preferred boarding due to the OneWorld rules but in IGR we all walked out onto the tarmac to the back door of the plane because we were in row 15. This was not my first time boarding a plane from the back door but it always makes for an interesting time.
The crew was excellent for both flights. They always had anything we asked for and were quite comfortable in either Spanish or English.
IGR - Airport
This is among the smallest airports I have ever been to with commercial service. They have only two gates and I would guess about 12 flights a day in and out. Poor Liz when we landed here and she looked around and saw nothing but the airport cut out of the jungle. But that is part of its appeal. It’s a gateway to clean air, calm breathing and a most relaxing time.
There is quite a bit of shopping available in the terminal for an airport its size. Several jewelry stores and leather shops line the hallways. The few chairs available throughout the terminal suggest they rarely have more than one plane on the ground at a time.
One last note about the airport. The check in service doesn’t open, at least for LAN, until about 90 minutes before the flight. So there is no reason to rush here from your hotel on the way home.
From Puerto Iguazu to the Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls National Park is 20 km east of Puerto Iguazu, along ruta 12, and buses run regularly between it and Puerto Iguazu's bus station. As soon as you arrive in the bus station you'll be besieged by people trying to sell you bus tickets, so there should be no problem finding a company.
Tren de la Selva
The Tren de la Selva (Jungle Train) is the quickest way to get around the park, though at busy times the train can be very busy, and you may have to queue for a long while before you get a seat. The train is free and it runs between the visitor centre and the Cataratas station, and also between Cataratas and Garganta stations, journeys of approximately 10 and 30 minutes respectively.
Garganta station is the stop for the park's biggest attraction, Garganta del Diablo, while Cataratas gives access to the other waterfalls. Contrary to what our guidebook advised, there wasn't one train going all the way from the visitor station to Garganta station. Instead you have to get out at Cataratas and join the queue. The journey to Garganta is very scenic, though you might get fed up of listening to the theme tune from The Mission for 30 minutes!
It's a long walk out to Garganta but we saw many people on the path, so if it's a very busy day you might consider that instead of queueing. However, seeing all the sights in the park involves lots of walking and it's usually very hot and humid, so I'd recommend taking the train and saving energy for all the other great hikes here.
Boats to San Martin island
The boats to san martin island are free of charge and take you in 10’ to the island.
There are boats every 10’ from 9:30am until 15:45pm. You can take the boat if you walk down the inferior trail and somewhere at the end you will see a sign for the boat.
From the same point you’ll take the speed boat that will take you almost inside the falls but you have to pay for this some pesos and of course you’ll get wet! :) I just took the simple boat because I wanted to protect my cameras and I just walked at San Martin island...
the ecological train!
There is a train that takes you from the entrance of the park to some of the paths.
First stop is where the inferior trail begins and the second one is at Garganta del Diablo. Some people go there first but its wrong because eits better to leave Garganta for the end of your tour because its so amazing that you’ll probably find boring the other trails!
The train if free of charge. I’ve been told that in high season some people couldn’t get inside and they had to walk but when I was there in early april the train was almost empty. Especially between first and second stop it was very useful because I was already tired and I didn’t want to walk the 2km between the two stations under the sun…
bus to the park
Take the local bus from Puerto Iguazu to visit the park. Just go to the bus terminal get on the bus Practico (it is just an old bus but who cares!), pay the driver 4 pesos and after 25’ it will drop you at the door of the park. There are buses every 30’ from the morning (around 7 oclock) till late afternoon (last one around 20:00). In high season the buses get crowdy so it’s better to take an early bus. You can buy your bus ticket in advance from any company in the bus terminal (8 pesos for return ticket).
If you don’t want to take the bus you can take a taxi that will take you to the park in 15’ but I don’t see any reason paying more pesos..
Flight with the views of the beautiful nature
The easiest way to get here is by plane. It's almost 2 hrs flight from Buenos Aires. In Puerto de Iguazu there are shuttle buses that will take you directly to the place where you're staying. I payed 8 pesos one way.
When you leave, make sure you seat on the left side of the plane to have the best view of the falls.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
- Adventure Travel
Crossing the border
To get to the National Park on the Argentine side and the airport the next morning, we had to pass through the border control between Brazil and Argentina. When we crossed the first time, we drove right through which I thought was really odd, on the way back from the Park our driver parked the car and got out with our passports. Before leaving the border control station, we had to get out of the car and wipe our feet on a mat, a preventive measure for hoof and mouth disease (what a tragedy that would be should it be spread through Brazil or Argentina!).
The next morning, we did have to stop at border control, there was a pretty long queue of cars waiting. Once again we had to give our driver our passports and the bottom half of the form from the airport but we did not have to go up to passport control. But we did have to get out and wipe our feet again and the cars also go through water to clean off the tires.
Train to Devil's Throat
There are two train stations inside the park where you can pick up the train to get to Devil's Throat, Central Station near the entrance and the Cataras Station a 10-15 minute walk along the Green Trail. We had just missed a train from the Central Station and since they only run every 1/2 hour (10 after the hour and 40 after the hour) the girl at the information booth recommended that we do the Upper Circuit first and then catch the train from the Cataras Station which is what we did.
The train takes about 20 minutes to get to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) Station, if you are visiting later in the afternoon, make sure you note the last train going back, I think the last train going to Devil's Throat was at 4:40 and the last one coming back was probably around 6 pm since the park closes at 6 pm.